Florida SBDC at USF: Pinellas County

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Pinellas County Economic Development (PCED), assists existing and emerging businesses in Pinellas county, through no-cost confidential business consulting, information, and low-cost training. The Florida SBDC at PCED Center is part of the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business region. Whether starting, buying, growing or selling a business, the Florida SBDC at USF has what entrepreneurs need to grow and succeed. Consultants can assist entrepreneurs in a variety of business areas, including: marketing, business certification, capital access, market diversification, developing strategic business plans, export services, and web optimization.

PinellasFlorida SBDC at Pinellas Economic Development Center
13805 58th Street, North
Clearwater, FL 33760
Phone: 727-453-7200
To Make an Appointment call 727-453-7200

Florida SBDC PCED at USF St. Petersburg
140 7th Ave., South, LPH 122D
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: 727-453-7200

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Meet the Consultants

  • Dr. Cynthia Johnson

    Center Director, Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development

    Specialty: Business Planning, Disaster Mitigation, Operations Management, Government Contracting & SBA Lending, SBIR/STTR Grants

    Dr. Cynthia Johnson has more than 27 years as a public administrator. She is the senior manager of economic development at Pinellas County Economic Development and a champion for entrepreneurship. Johnson is the project manager and certified facilitator for NxLevel Business Training and Kauffman Foundations FastTrac and TechVenture Programs.
    Before making the transition to Pinellas County Economic Development, Johnson was an assistant principal with Pinellas County School District. During her 10 years as an educator, she led business and educator partner relations. Additionally, she is a part-time adjunct instructor of public administration, educational leadership and operations management at the University of South Florida and Barry University. In 2010, she was nominated for the business woman of the year award by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce for her work in government and with entrepreneurs and small business owners. Johnson is also TTI Success Insights DISC certified.

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  • Yolanda Cowart

    Florida PTAC at Pinellas County Economic Development

    Specialty: Procurement

    Yolanda Cowart has more than 20 years of experience in public service at the local and municipal levels. Early in her career, she worked as a human resources and relations professional while serving as a liaison to the business community and advocacy groups. Her prior experience includes being a human relations specialist for Lee County Government, and an equal opportunity director for the City of Fort Lauderdale. Her background combines public service and human relations experience with hands on leadership in equal opportunity, supplier diversity, business certifications programs, organizational training and development, and managing workforce diversity principles. Cowart is the procurement specialist for the Florida PTAC at Pinellas County Economic Development. She connects businesses to resources and tools for state, local, and federal contracting opportunities. She is a Certified Procurement Professional (CPP), a Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP), and a Certified Verification Counselor. She graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor of arts in political science and history.

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  • Kurt Forster

    Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development

    Specialty: Marketing and Strategic Planning, Business Planning, Financial Management, Capital Access

    Kurt Forster found his interest in business consulting and training working at the USF Center for Organizational Communication while completing his master’s in communication. Later, he put that experience to use, owning and operating two market research businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit stuck with Forster even while working in large organizations, opening new offices for St. Petersburg College and later the State of Wyoming’s Business Council. Additionally, he led marketing efforts to redevelop downtown St. Petersburg as the Director of Marketing for Bay Plaza Companies.

    He developed his enthusiastic facilitator style working in a variety of teaching positions from alpine ski instructor and Sea World animal trainer to college instructor. Forster is also a certified instructor for NxLevel Business Training Programs and Kauffman Foundation FastTrac TechVenture Program, and is a Certified LivePlan Expert Advisor and a Certified Profit Mastery Facilitator. Forster also founded Common Ground, a downtown development organization in St. Petersburg, and assists a variety of technology and entrepreneurship organizations throughout Tampa Bay.

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  • Debra Schweikowsky

    Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development

    Specialty: Finance, Capital Access

    Debra Schweikowsky is a business professional with experience in business management, administration, banking and finance. She was a small business owner with more than 20 years of experience, including being a franchisee. As a business owner, she successfully implemented a variety of revenue enhancement strategies and is results driven. Schweikowsky successfully sold her business by following an established exit strategy. Four years ago, she entered the banking industry and gained a wealth of knowledge in assisting consumers and businesses to meet their financial and borrowing needs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from State University of New York, Empire State College.

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  • Aubri Shauger-Haley, MBA, CCA

    Florida SBDC at Pinellas County Economic Development

    Specialty: Procurement

    Aubri Shauger-Haley serves as a business manager, procurement specialist for the SBE program at Pinellas County and is a business consultant for the Florida SBDC at Pinellas County. Shauger-Haley assists the business community by providing education in start-up and procuring contracts with the county. Her certifications include Contract Compliance Administrator, DBE/ACDBE, and Nav Certified Credit and Lending Specialist. Additionally, Shauger-Haley is a master user in the B2GNow system. Prior to joining Pinellas County in 2018, Shauger- Haley served as a minority & small business special programs coordinator for Hillsborough County. She conducted construction contract compliance project approvals, audits, site visits, and project close-outs to ensure goals were met. In addition to compliance, she represented Hillsborough County Economic Development through involvement in business and trade organizations and associations, as well as provided instructional courses. She has been a committee member of (Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week since 2007, and was a NFL’s Emerging Business Super Bowl XLII Host Committee member. Prior to joining Hillsborough County in 2015, Shauger-Haley served as a small business specialist and a community specialist with the City of St. Petersburg. She has a bachelor of science in business management and a MBA.

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